A tomato allergy is a type 1 hypersensitivity to tomatoes. Type 1 allergies are commonly known as contact allergies. When a person with this type of allergy comes into contact with an allergen such as a tomato, histamines are released into exposed areas such as the skin, nose, and respiratory and digestive tracts. In turn, this causes an allergic reaction.
Despite the fact that tomatoes and tomato-based products are some of the most heavily consumed foods in the western diet, tomato allergies are extremely rare. An individual with a tomato allergy is also prone to allergic reactions with other nightshades, including potatoes, tobacco, and eggplant. Often, people with a tomato allergy will have a cross-reaction to latex as well (latex-fruit syndrome).
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Symptoms of a tomato allergy usually occur shortly after the allergen is consumed. They include:
skin rash, eczema, or hives (urticaria)
abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
an itching sensation in the throat
coughing, sneezing, wheezing, or runny nose
swelling of the face, mouth, tongue, or throat (angiodema)
anaphylaxis (very rarely)
Tomato Allergy Eczema
Although the occurrence of eczema is only around ten percent in those with food allergies, tomatoes (along with nuts) are irritants to those with eczema. Symptoms of allergy-related eczema will typically occur immediately following exposure to the allergen and may include recurrent rashes, severe itching, swelling, and redness.
Tests and Treatment
A tomato allergy can be confirmed with either a skin prick test or a blood test that detects the IgE immunoglobulin. Avoidance is the best option, but tomato allergies can usually be treated successfully with antihistamines and topical steroidal ointment can be useful when treating an allergic rash.
Tomato Allergy Recipes
Because tomatoes are at the base of so many of the dishes westerners enjoy eating, it can be frustrating for a person with a tomato allergy to avoid the foods they love such as pizza and pasta. However, with a little ingenuity and preparation, an allergy sufferer can find ways to outsmart tomatoes. Consider the following replacements:
Makes 2 servings.
8 fluid ounces heavy whipping cream
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons butter
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup grated Romano cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 pinch ground nutmeg
salt to taste
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add heavy cream. Stir in Parmesan and Romano cheese, salt, and nutmeg. Stirring constantly until melted, mix in the egg yolk. Let simmer over medium-low heat between 3 and 5 minutes. Top with extra grated Parmesan cheese. Other types of cheeses may be used if desired.
Bechamel Sauce (For Pizzas or Pastas)
· 4 tablespoons butter
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup half and half
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons grated onion
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
1 pinch dried thyme
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
In a small saucepan, melt the butter and then stir in the flour, salt, and white pepper. Add cold half and half and cold stock together. Stir well. Cook on medium heat and stir frequently until thick. Remove from heat and stir in the other seasonings.
Japanese Style Tomato-Free Pasta Sauce
Makes 8 servings.
3 cups water
1½ pounds carrots, cut into large pieces
3 large beets, diced
3 stalks celery, cut into large pieces
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons red kome miso
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon basil
2 tablespoon arrowroot (or kuzu), dissolved in ¼ cup water
In a pan, add water, vegetables, bay leaves, and miso. Cover and boil until very soft (15 to 20 minutes). Puree vegetables, using leftover broth as needed. Return to pot. Sauté garlic and add the sauce along with olive oil, basil, oregano, and arrowroot. Simmer for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Season to taste.
Symptoms of Tomato Allergy
National of Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease reports if you suffer from hay fever, you may be allergic to tomato. Tomatoes many create unpleasant reactions, ranging mild to severe.
- Lips: Immediate swelling of mouth and lips.
- Mouth: Appearance of mouth sores or tingling immediately or 30 minutes after eating a tomato.
- Throat: Itching, tenderness, difficulty breathing and throat closing.
- Skin: Rashes, inflammation, and stinging in other parts of your body that have not come in contact with the tomato.
- Additional Symptoms: Symptoms to look out for that could be related tomato or nightshade allergy are gastrointestinal problems, increase in production of bodily fluids such as tears, sweat, or saliva, stomach ache, emesis or cramps, headaches, sinus problems, chest tightness, conjunctivas, and/or mental or emotional issues.
When to see a doctor: The following are the symptoms of anaphylactic shock and urgent medical assistance will be required!
- tingling lips
- swelling face
- urticaria (hives)
- tightening of the chest
- difficulty breathing
Preventions and Treatments for Tomato Allergy
Allergies are mistaken by your body as being harmful; therefore, your immune system will release antibodies to counteract the harmful ingredient. The next time you eat that food, your immune system delivers histamine along with other chemicals into the bloodstream, causing a wide arrange of symptoms such as runny nose, itchy eyes, rashes and hives, nausea, diarrhea, breathing difficulties or anaphylactic shock.
There are several ways you can verify and prevent tomato allergic reactions.
Ask your doctor to complete a skin and blood test, and ask your doctor to provide education on your allergies as well as treatment. You may also want to discuss medication with your doctor in case of an emergency.
Avoid eating tomatoes or having any contact with them if you are diagnosed with tomato allergy. Here are some tomatoes and tomato products to avoid:
- Fresh tomato: Avoid eating raw tomato in all forms, such as tomato in salsa or natural dried tomato.
- Cooked tomato: Some may be allergic to fresh tomatoes, while others can get symptoms when eating cooked tomatoes, including pureed tomato, pasta sauces, chili, etc.
- Nightshade vegetables: You may need to consult a doctor to confirm whether you can eat vegetables in nightshade family, such as bell peppers, eggplant. Because tomato is one kind of nightshade family vegetables and the other vegetables in the same family contain similar proteins, which may also cause tomato allergy symptoms.
Always check the labels on food products for anything that might contain tomatoes and be aware of the places where others food may be polluted by tomatoes, as well as ask if there’s any ingredient of tomato when you’re dining in a restaurant.
- Histamine which is present in Benadryl is used to treat mild tomato allergy. However, some may require you to go to the emergency room. If you have breathing difficulties, low blood pressure and swelling of your throat, call 911 or go to the emergency room. During this time, you should take precautions to prevent shock by lying down with one leg on a pillow and the other off the floor and a warm blanket around you. Have others monitor your reaction until help arrives.
- Using anti-Inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen or using topical cream will reduce swelling and itching and continue to observe your symptoms. Do not wait until symptoms become life-threatening before having someone drive you to the emergency room or calling 911. If you have prescription to alleviate symptoms, read instructions and use administer medication properly.
- Keep your cutting board and knives free from tomatoes, and be aware of possible cross contamination with outside dining. You may also want to purchase an alert bracelet from your doctor that list the allergy and how to treat it in case of a reaction.
Tomato Allergy: 2 Alternative Recipes for You
1. Alfredo Sauce
2. Bechamel Sauce (For Pizzas or Pastas)